County Council candidate Don Praisner, pictured here at IHOP last month, held an ice cream social this weekend for friends and supporters.
About sixty well-wishers came out to Seibel's Restaurant in Burtonsville Saturday for an ice cream social and fundraiser supporting Democrat Don Praisner's bid for his wife's former County Council seat.
"It's kind of continuing a tradition my mom had," says daughter Alison Praisner Klumpp, a teacher at Fairland Elementary School. While it wasn't a yearly event, the social was held "quite frequently" by Councilmember Marilyn Praisner (D-Calverton), who passed away in February.
The Praisner family reserved two rooms in the back of the restaurant to entertain a steady stream of family and friends, including a number of countywide elected officials. Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Rockville) and George Leventhal (D-At Large) came out, as did Dale Tibbitts, chief of staff for Councilmember Marc Elrich (D-At Large).
According to Don Praisner, who goes up against Republican Mark Fennel in a special election May 13, the event is a great opportunity to catch up with friends, family and well-wishers. "People seem to enjoy ice cream, and a little iced tea," he says. "The kids show up."
After a heated, six-week campaign between four candidates for the Democratic nomination, Praisner has dialed down his campaign considerably, saying it's "very quiet" since the primary April 15. He will be talking to the Democratic Club at Leisure World this week and has already participated in a televised debate on Channel 16. Praisner stirred up a minor controversy when he mentioned property tax advocate Robin Ficker, who worked on Fennel's campaign during the primary. "He got very upset," says Praisner, "and said 'Robin's not on my campaign anymore'."
In a district where Democrats outnumber Republicans "four-to-one" and his wife was extremely popular, Praisner says, he knows he'll have some explaining to do if he loses next week. "I'm telling people if I lose, I'll have to leave the country," he jokes. "[Fennel] has the problem of name recognition, except for signs."